Top Ten

July 9, 2019

UBC’s Paragon Testing signs agreement with China

Paragon Testing Enterprises, a subsidiary of the University of British Columbia, has signed an agreement with the National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA) of the Chinese Ministry of Education. The agreement will see the parties work together to deliver the Canadian Academic English Language Test – Computer Edition in the People’s Republic of China. “We believe the possibility and availability of the CAEL CE Test in China will… provide Chinese candidates aspiring to Canadian higher education an alternative English assessment,” said NEEA President Jiang Gang. “This, of course, will benefit and contribute to the China Canada education exchange.” Paragon Testing (BC)

Sheridan EDGE, Oakville Community Foundation partner on pitch competition

Sheridan College’s Entrepreneurship Discovery and Growth Engine has partnered with the Oakville Community Foundation to create the inaugural EDGE Philanthropitch. EDGE Philanthropitch will allow Sheridan students, alumni, and EDGE program participants to pitch an idea or enterprise with a focus on achieving social or environmental impact goals. “EDGE was created to help support those whose entrepreneurial ventures aim to make a positive social impact in society,” said Renee Devereaux, EDGE’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Changemaking. “This initiative will help showcase these entrepreneurs across the GTA by offering them a forum to share their ideas, network with industry leaders and connect to EDGE’s resources.” Sheridan (ON)

US universities enjoy abundance of antidepressants, but shortage of counselling services

Many US campuses are short on counselling resources but sport an abundance of anti-depressants, reports Lily Jackson. Data obtained from dozens of US universities show that “At any given time, universities can have tens of thousands of pills on hand.” According to existing research, this glut of pills combined with a shortage of counsellors can create a “lopsided treatment” scenario rather than the recommended combination of drugs and counselling. Other stakeholders, however, argue that simply adding more counsellors will not solve the problem, as each student’s situation is different and might require a unique approach to treatment. Chronicle (Subscription Required) (International)

NorQuest receives pledge of largest planned gift in college history

Blaine LaBonte and Irene Mertz-LaBonte have named NorQuest College as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy that amounts to the largest planned gift ever pledged to the college. “We’ve had NorQuest grads impact us personally,” said Mertz-LaBonte. “Blaine’s father was in a nursing home and NorQuest alumni were caring for him. Naming NorQuest as the beneficiary of Blaine’s policy feels right and makes a statement about what we value.” The gift will reportedly be used as a catalyst to launch the college’s new planned giving program, the President’s Society. Edmonton Journal (AB)

CAUT issues statement about firings at MCFT

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has raised concerns over two dismissals at the Maritime College of Forest Technology. CAUT reports that Rod Cumberland’s firing in June likely resulted from his outspokenness against the herbicide glyphosate. MCFT Director Gerald Redmond then publicly stated that he “felt pressure from the board of governors in several instances, to try to sanction Rod for his outspokenness on the glyphosate herbicide.” The College reportedly dismissed Redmond shortly afterwards, prompting CAUT to claim that the academic freedom of both teachers has been violated, and that both incidents will be reviewed by the CAUT Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee. CAUT (NB) | Letter (PDF)

Some international students feel ‘duped’ by agents: Report

An investigation by the Globe and Mail has found that some international students have been duped by unscrupulous agents who persuaded them to enroll in private college as a shortcut to acquiring permanent residence in Canada. The Pie News adds that students would also work more than their permitted 20 hours per week while searching for a Canadian sponsor. Several of the two dozen students interviewed by the Globe said they hoped their courses would help them land good jobs, but Canadian employers in their fields were unwilling to hire them. Denis Sabourin, CEO of the National Association of Career Colleges, told Pie News that the NACC strongly condemns the actions of these immigration consultants, and that the students’ reported negative experiences are “not representative of the over 160,000 career college students across Canada.” Pie News (National) | Globe and Mail

Future Skills Centre sets sights on upscaling workforce development

The Future Skills Centre has been moving forward in recent months in its ambitious mission to fund and evaluate new approaches to skills development in Canada, among other goals. Anqi Shen reports that the Centre, hosted at Ryerson University, has been tasked with assessing teaching methods and credentialing practices, creating flexible learning opportunities, and increasing access and success for Indigenous people, students living with disabilities, racialized students and women in STEM fields, among other underrepresented groups. The Conference Board of Canada, which is involved in the project, is now organizing calls for proposals for research projects around six pillars of its research agenda: accessibility and equity, skills training, learner pathways, labour market information data, sustainability of the skills training systems, and knowledge mobilization. University Affairs (ON)

ON’s cuts will have long-term consequences: Sullivan

“It is very difficult to understand why a politician would view education as a cost rather than an asset, but that is the case in Ontario with our current provincial government,” writes Bill Sullivan. Citing a recent study that draws correlations between health, socioeconomic status, and education levels, the author adds that a well-educated citizenry cannot but improve a society’s overall well-being. According to Sullivan, the provincial government’s cuts to public K-12 and higher education will also discourage corporations from moving to Ontario, which raises the question of how long it will take the province to recover from the social and economic damage done by the policies. Waterloo Region Record (ON)

New report addresses state of higher ed ten years after financial crisis

Inside Higher Ed has released a new report on the state of higher education ten years after the US financial crisis, titled “Squeezed From All Sides: Opportunities and Challenges for Regional Public Universities.” Scott Jaschik states that the report includes strategies for negotiating current institutional challenges such as teacher shortages, political issues, concerns about racism and sexism, and how regional and national economies continue to impact decision making in the higher ed sector 10 years after the financial crash. The report also discusses the recent focus of enrolment strategies on non-traditional students. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Marginalized students hurt most by recent OSAP cuts, says survey run by Western students

A recent survey by Western University’s student’s council has found that individuals from marginalized groups have been hit hardest by the Ontario Government’s recent cuts to student aid. The London Free Press reports that during the last few weeks, many Western students learned that funding for their post-secondary aspirations would change dramatically, leaving them unsure if they could afford to return to school. “A lot of students were really devastated, they were saying it was really upsetting,” said student council vice-president Cat Dunne. “We wanted to do something to give students a voice.” London Free Press (ON)